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THE PHILIPPINES addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Explicit bias towards the well-connected was also apparent in the process of choosing external technology partners, despite overwhelming volunteer interest across the technology and civil society sectors. This bias, however, was not followed by due diligence in ensuring that the partnerships would yield the desired results.

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Lockdown now, tech later The use of technology to assist in the COVID-19 response has therefore appeared to be more of an afterthought for the Philippine government. While the first local case was recorded on March 74 and lockdowns in highly urbanised cities started in mid-March,5 high-level conversations on COVID-19 tech solutions only started in the first two weeks of April. As mentioned, the Philippine government chose to collaborate with established technology companies who had already worked on government projects or that had extensive private sector connections. Some deals were done without proper technical vetting or effectivity checks6 from supposed government monitors. The lack of proper vetting, in turn, caused local IT experts to raise concerns over excessive permissions user data permissions and post-pandemic data custody in relation to the official contact-tracing app.7 Indeed, the data collected data may be used for other purposes like the 2022 Philippine elections, given the vagueness of the app’s privacy provisions. Another worrying aspect is a lack of systems integration, resulting in individual data silos for each platform. The work of integrating existing technological systems and platforms for COVID-19 response and monitoring also came as an afterthought, with differences in systems development being a key hindrance to making the integration smoother. Those excluded from official technology initiatives, meanwhile, stepped up to craft independent monitoring and analysis tools to increase citizen awareness of national and Dispatches

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Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

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